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Kel-tec PF-9 vs. Snubbie .38 vs. Ruger LCP

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by xanderzuk, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. xanderzuk

    xanderzuk New Member

    Aug 2, 2008
    I'm looking for something that can be a pocket gun for Concealed Carry, with only minimal use in a IWB holster when pocket carry isn't practical.

    Each seems to have their drawbacks:

    Kel-tec PF-9 - I seem to be reading alot of issues regarding malfunctions.

    Snub-nose .38 - Relatively thick compared to the others - no?

    Ruger LCP - Impossible to find - lowest amount of stopping power.

    I seem to keep going back and forth over and over and over.

    I have an athletic build (as I've mentioned before in other threads), and dress well, so I don't have hawaiian shirts or larger build to hide a bigger gun.

    I'd like things to be as convenient as possible so I don't "leave home without it."

    What would you pick?

    P.S. I'd prefer a snub-nose without an internal lock - what S&W model number would you recommend?
  2. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Active Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Mountain Home, ID
    To get a snub nose without a lock you'd either have to get one made before they started putting them on, or get one of the 4,000 642s they just made without locks. As for which J frame Smith to go with, it all depends on what you want, what your experience level is, etc.

    If you're experienced pistol shooter and just want something easy to carry that won't get shot all that much, then get either the M&P 340 or 340 PD. If you want something easier to shoot then get one of the steel framed guns. Then you've got snubs with a hammer, with the hammer completely concealed, or with the hammer shrouded. Then you've got .357 Magnum or .38 special. All a matter of personal preference.

    And I said all that to say, I'd pick the Kahr PM9 or one of the S&W snubbies.
  3. makarovnik

    makarovnik Participating Member

    Jul 8, 2006
    All the Kel-Tecs are good weapons. I like the PF-9 and would probably go for the P3AT before the Ruger just because it has been out longer.
  4. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    The LCP will be the hands down smallest and easyest to carry gun of the three. I wouldn't worry to much about the .380 caliber . I carried the Kel-Tec P3-AT for about a year and never felt underguned. Select good ammo and learn to place shots in the right area and it will do just fine in my opinion.

    I carry a snub nose revolver now in front pocket carry. Not as smooth a carry piece but I haven't had any problems either. For pocket carry I recommend a light weight version and a pocket holster. Here you are looking basicaly at a .38 Spl power arena. Mine happens to be a .32 mag but that is about the equivalent of a standard .38 Spl loading for energy delivered. .357 mags can be had in the light weight guns, but they tend to be a bit much for controlability in guns that weigh in at under 20 oz. They are not as flat, but the pocket holsters blend them in just fine.

    Based on the Kel-Tec P3-AT I owned I would not have a problem considering the PF-9 . Just ring it out a little before trusting it to carry which is a good idea no matter what. It is flat and small enough to pocket carry with ease I would think. I have looked at the Ruger LCP and it is an almost identical gun to the Kel-Tec P3-AT for design, and quality as far as I can tell. Our local shop has sold a few of the LCP's and I know at least one has gone back to the factory for jamming problems so you don't automaticaly get a good gun because the name on it is a major player.
  5. contenderman

    contenderman New Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Northern, OH
    You've mentioned 3 different mfg. and calibers, and both semi-auto and revolver styles.

    If your looking for one gun to cover all your bases then smallest, flattest and lightest would be the apparent direction to go in. Today's excellent selection of SD loads boost the 380 into the viable category.

    On the other hand, if your looking to have different carry pieces, as many of us do, then consideration of a small 9mm (Kahr, Kel-Tec, etc.) and the Ruger LCP or Kel-Tec P3AT (nearly identical in size/weight) would be a good start. And relative to the bigger pistol there are some pretty small 45's out there, but they are a little harder to control for 2nd and successive shots.

    For simplicity sake ... the revolver is the best choice ... simple to use. However typical cylinder capacity is 5 rounds -vs- 7-9 for the semi-autos.

    Lots of ranges have rental guns so you should be able to find models of interest that you can actually shoot. Even some of the large retailers have demos and a test shooting area.
  6. hhersh

    hhersh New Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    I have a G19, BHP & a1911...my fav? a good ole S&W mod 60 Chief !
  7. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Snub nose in dedicated .38spl.

    What is not often taken into consideration:

    -Having to make safe a firearm and place in lockable storage in some structure.
    -Traveling, and entering jurisdictions and having to unload, and separate ammo from firearm.
    Safety goes to a revolver in unloading, and reloading when entering legal jurisdictions again.

    -The ability of another person to not only use the revolver, also to make ready to use, or unload to make safe.
    Spouse, parents, grandparents, sister/brother, kids, anyone.
    Serious situation happens and you are down.
    In traveling and while in the shower, another can use a revolver is a problem happens at hotel

    Personal Experience with both Kel-Tec P-11 and Snub Nose dedicated 38spl, the revolver is overwhelmingly preferred by not only those persons I have to make safe and put into a lockable container, also by those I associate and have traveled with.
    Persons such as single ladies, single moms, teenagers, and those a bit rusty with firearm use, due to jurisdiction restrictions , or physical limits.

    Yes, I have situations where having a snub nose was comforting to another.
    Such as travel, and in bad areas of town, and passengers could use an extra snub nose I had along.
    Such as picking up folks from the Airport.
  8. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Participating Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Go with the .38 snubbie...
  9. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Senior Member

    Mar 27, 2008
    Central Indiana.
    +3 (I think) on the snubbie. People don't like the locks on the 642 or 442 but mine is no issue...very tightly locked open. Snubbie is easy to carry even in a pocket if your pants are "relaxed fit". .38 +P with a good hollow point is an outstanding round under most circumstances. No such thing as a failure to feed or failure to extract. You can get one for about $400. I would definitely want the hammerless (like Smith's 442 or 642), bobbed hammer like some of the Ruger SP101s, or maybe one of the covered hammer models like the Smith 638. A snubbie with a hammer is going to need more careful draw from concealment and can hang up.

    There may be other guns out there better for CCW but you set the parameters and I stuck to them.
  10. Bobo

    Bobo Active Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Central, VA
    I think you'll find that the PF-9 might be a bit big for pocket carry. That leaves the snubbie or the LCP.

    The LCP is thinner, holds more ammo, extra mags are thinner and quicker to load.

    Sorry, I just can't think of any good reason for the snubbie in .38 unless it had more power (.357).

  11. doc2rn

    doc2rn Senior Member

    Aug 6, 2006
    SW Florida
    LCP is best I have one.
    I think the S&W model 60 is what you are looking for.
  12. xanderzuk

    xanderzuk New Member

    Aug 2, 2008
    +P rated?

    Does any know which S&W pre-lock .38's are +P rated?

    I only ask this because of the use of defensive rounds.
  13. lesjones

    lesjones Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    There have been some issues with locks engaging on harder-recoiling guns, but I've yet to hear of it happening with a .38. I have a 642 and haven't had any problems.

    I wouldn't let the lock get in your way of buying an S&W .38.
  14. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    I have a P3AT and a 642.

    I probably carry my Commander 9x19mm more than the 642. :)

  15. DawgFvr

    DawgFvr Participating Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Olympia, WA
    I have a P3AT and a 642.

    Nothing beats the 642 for pocket carry.

    I do carry a G26 IWB whenever possible. P3AT is a last resort.
  16. xanderzuk

    xanderzuk New Member

    Aug 2, 2008
    Should I consider a Taurus in .38 spl or are they junk?
  17. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Active Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    NC Sandhills
    I will be getting a Taurus 85 and my research indicates that even people who are anti-Taurus seem to make a, "Well, they got that one right" exception.

    I chose it because it fits my hand a bit better than the essentially identical S&W J-frames. Its just a tiny bit smaller with a slightly shorter trigger reach but is supposed to go in all the same holsters, use the same speedloaders, etc.
  18. orionengnr

    orionengnr Mentor

    Jan 3, 2005
    I've owned half a dozen j-frames (from all steel to alloy to Scandium) and sold them all.

    I've owned four Kel-Tecs (one .32, two .380, one 9mm) and sold them all.

    Sensing a pattern here?

    Looking at an LCP and will buy one as soon as the price is right.

    In the mean time, my Kahr PM9 stays in my pocket day in, day out. :)
  19. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Senior Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    The Land of Northern Hospitality and Southern Effi
    I can actually help here.

    I owned the PF-9. Good quality gun. I fired 500 rounds through mine with no problems. It carries well in a pocket holster (I used a DeSantis Nemesis), and you have 8 rounds of 9MM. I sold it simply because I found a S&W 3913 that is overall a much better gun. However, I had NO problems with my PF-9.

    I own a S&W J-Frame Model 60 Ladysmith in .38 SPL. It's pre-lock, made from Stainless steel, etc. This one isn't as easy to conceal and it's a more specialized gun to master. Still, only 5 shots? Let me have the 9MM with 3 more shots. I carried this one for a while after I sold my PF-9 and while I was looking for those elusive 3913s.

    I own a KT P3AT (or Ruger LCP MK 1). It's been reliable as well. I carry this in addition to my 3913 for a BUG. .380 for me is the bottom of what's "acceptable" for Self-Defense, but even then I relegate it to backup duty. It's definitely not a range gun, but it goes bang. The key is to have the right ammo. I use Remington Golden Saber 105 Grain .380 rounds. These have some of the best expansion on the market.

    SHOOT1SAM Active Member

    Jun 6, 2004
    Boise, Idaho
    So, what kind of athletic build are you talking about? Weight lifter? Shot Putter? Discus or Hammer thrower? Sumo Wrestler ??? :neener:


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